Occupational Health News Roundup

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive reports that 20 tradesmen die from asbestos-related diseases every week, and that number will likely increase. In an effort to reduce asbestos exposure among plumbers, joiners, electricians, and other maintenance workers, HSE has launched the campaign Asbestos: The Hidden Killer. Campaign materials and activities are designed to alert workers to the dangerous effects of asbestos and educate them about where it’s found and how it should be handled.

In France, thousands of workers took to the street to protest “Death by Canada” – asbestos-related diseases caused by asbestos produced by Canada and installed in French office and academic buildings. Now, warns Keith Spicer, a former Ottowa Citizen editor now living in Paris, Canada is selling its lethal product to developing countries where worker protection is weak.

In other news:

Philadelphia Inquirer: After a seven-year fight, a bill banning mandatory overtime in Pennsylvania healthcare facilities has passed. Double shifts are often required of nurses and other caregivers, but can be dangerous for both the workers and their patients.

Washington Post: Expanded GI Bill benefits set to take effect in August won’t be retroactive, so veterans who’ve already paid to get degrees won’t benefit from the increased tuition payments.

Wall Street Journal Health Blog: HR consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide reports that heart disease accounts for the largest share of work absences of more than 10 days; diabetes takes second place.

Associated Press: The Browns football team has had at least six known cases of staph infection since 2005; most recently, tight end Kellen Winslow was hospitalized for three days with an infection.

AARP Magazine: The AARP list of best employers for workers over 50 includes Cornell University, the National Institutes of Health, LL Bean, and several healthcare companies (via Sciences and Engineers for America).